Eight flights from seven countries to bring Indians home soon
As part of Vande Bharat Mission, India's biggest repatriation operation, eight flights will bring Indians from seven different countries soon. On Thursday night, the first two flights landed in Kerala, bringing home 363 Indians, including pregnant women and children. The massive exercise, started in phases from May 7, would help Indians stuck in foreign lands due to coronavirus-linked travel restrictions. Here are more details.
Today, one flight carrying Indians will arrive from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Delhi at 3 pm. Another one will land in Hyderabad from Kuwait at 6:30 pm. A flight from Oman's Muscat will arrive at Cochin at 8:50 pm and a plane from Sharjah in UAE will come to Lucknow at 8:50 pm. All the passengers will be screened and sent for quarantine on arrival.
The remaining four flights will land from Kuwait to Cochin at 9:15 pm, from Malaysia's Kaula Lumpur to Trichy at 9:40 pm, from United Kingdom's London to Mumbai at 1:30 am of May 10 and from Qatar's Doha to Cochin at 1:40 am.
In the first week of the mission, 64 flights will bring back 15,000 Indians from different countries. While nearly 300,000 have registered to be brought back from West Asia, the government is giving priority to laid-off asymptomatic migrant workers, short-term visa holders, those having a medical emergency, pregnant women, children, elderly, and those willing to return after the demise of a family member.
Yesterday, a flight from Singapore and another from Riyadh landed in Delhi and Kerala respectively. There was another flight from Bahrain, carrying 177 passengers and five infants, that landed in Cochin. In Delhi, the passengers were sent to various quarantine facilities at hotels in Aerocity, Dwarka, and South Delhi. Those who hailed from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh were sent home in buses.
Indians are also being brought via the sea. INS Jalashwa, the Indian Navy's amphibious warship, reached the Maldives on Thursday for the "Operation Samudra Setu". 698 Indians boarded the ship and will be brought to Kerala's Kochi. "It is a very great thing that High Commission did for us and we did not have any issues till now," a native of Palakkad, Kerala, said.
The crew which is working on this operation is pumped up and sees it as a matter of pride. 31-year-old Sheoran who flew one of the first Air India Express flights from Abu Dhabi to Kochi said, "It was a very proud moment to bring our people back home. The general tempo and morale of every individual involved in the mission are very high."